Tag Archives: Hak-Ju Lee

Suns Win Fourth Straight Over Biscuits; Tie For Division Lead

Jake Smolinski(above left)and Curt Smith (above right)combined to go 5-for-6 with five RBI’s and five runs scored in the Suns 11-7 win over the Montgomery Biscuits August 6, 2012 at the Baseball Grounds. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Jacksonville Suns moved into a tie for first place in the South Division of the Southern League, collecting a season-high 15 hits in an 11-7 win over the Montgomery Biscuits on Monday night at the Baseball Grounds.  The Suns began the five game series trailing the Biscuits by four games in the standings. 
 
The Biscuits took the lead in the top of the third inning against Suns starter Brian Flynn.  Mark Thomas legged out an infield single to start the inning and went to second on a pass ball.  With one out, Hak-Ju Lee singled to left field with Thomas scoring from second to put Montgomery in front 1-0.  The Biscuits scored the first run for the second straight game, with Lee providing the RBI both times.  After a single by Ty Morrison put runners on first and third, Mikie Mahtook plated Lee from third with a ground out and the Biscuits were up 2-0. 
 
The Suns evened the score 2-2 in the home half of the third against Biscuits starter Matt Buschmann.  Donnie Webb walked to set up Jake Smolinski, who hit a two-run home run to left-center.  Smolinski entered the season with seven career home runs.  He has hit all five of his homers this season in the last 44 games. 
 
The two teams traded runs in the fourth inning.  Michael Sheridan drove in a run with a RBI double for the Biscuits in the top half of the inning, and Curt Smith countered with a solo home run for the Suns in the home half.  Smith has hit nine home runs this season, with two of them in his last three games in the starting lineup.  The Suns have belted at least two home runs in five of the last nine games, and now have a total of 82 round trippers on the season.
 
Jacksonville batted around in the fifth, scoring five times on four hits to break the game open.  Chris Gutierrez and Zach Cox each drove in a run with a single to give the Suns a 5-3 lead.  Curt Smith plated two more runs with a double, with both Gutierrez and Cox crossing the plate to increase the advantage to 7-3.  An error by third baseman Greg Sexton on a ground ball by Paul Gran then allowed Smith to score for an 8-3 Suns edge.
 
In the sixth inning, after singles by Jake Jefferies and Jake Smolinski, Zach Cox hit a fly ball with left fielder Shawn O’Malley unable to make the catch by the foul line,  going head-over-heels onto the lawn in foul ground, with the ball falling to the ground.  The triple drove in both Smolinski and Jefferies to give the Suns a comfortable 10-3 lead.
 
The Suns and Biscuits again traded runs in the seventh inning.  After the Biscuits loaded the bases on three straight singles against Suns reliever Rett Varner, Ty Morrison drove in his 32nd run of the season for Montgomery with a ground out to cut the lead to 10-4.  Donnie Webb got the run back for the Suns with a double in the home half of the inning, with Paul Gran scoring to make it 11-4 Jacksonville.
 
With Jordan Conley on in relief, the Biscuits made it interesting in the eighth.  Greg Sexton hit a solo home run and Derek Dietrich smashed a two-run home run to cut the Suns lead to 11-7.  After a double by Mark Thomas, left fielder Shawn O’Malley hit a ball deep to right field, with Suns right fielder Danny Pertusati leaping up at the wall to commit highway robbery and deny O’Malley the home run.  A.J. Ramos entered the game to record the final out of the eighth inning, and also pitched the ninth.
 
The Suns and Biscuits combined for 29 hits in the game.  17 of the 18 hitters  in the game with the exception of Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth (0-for-5) had at least one hit.  The top four batters in the Suns lineup combined to finish 8-for-16 with nine RBI’s and seven runs scored.  Eight players in the lineup had at least one of the Suns season-high 15 hits.  Curt Smith went 3-for-4 with three RBI’s.  Jake Smolinski, Chris Gutierrez, Paul Gran, and Jake Jefferies each had two hits.  In his Suns debut, Zach Cox was 2-for-5 with a triple, three RBI’s, and a run scored.  Every player in the Biscuits lineup had at least one hit.  Mark Thomas, Greg Sexton, Omar Luna, and Michael Sheridan each had a multi-hit game for the Biscuits.  Jacksonville has outscored Montgomery 21-8 in the series.
 
Brian Flynn (2-0) allowed three runs on six hits to win his second straight start.  Flynn, a 6-8 left hander, was acquired by the Marlins from the Tigers just before the trade deadline last week.  Matt Buschmann (5-7) surrendered eight runs on eight hits in the loss.  He shutout the Suns 1-0 on May 11th, allowing just one hit over six innings.
 
The Suns have won seven straight games at the Baseball grounds, outscoring opponents 41-21.  It’s the longest home winning streak for the Suns since May 2-14, 2010, when they also won seven in a row.
 
The Suns look to take sole possession of first place with a win on Tuesday.  Jacksonville hasn’t been alone at the top of the division since May 4th in the first half of the season.  The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  LHP Jose Alvarez (4-6, 3.74) takes the mound for the Suns.  RHP Nick Barnese (2-0, 4.30) will try to avoid the sweep for the Biscuits. 

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Suns Win Third Straight Over Biscuits; One Game Out

Bryan Evans(above)was sharp in the Suns 7-1 win over the Montgomery Biscuits. He allowed just one run, and tied his season high with eight strikeouts. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Suns won for the sixth straight time at the Baseball Grounds, pulling to within one game of first place in the South Division, with a 7-1 win over the Montgomery Biscuits on Sunday night.  The Suns began the series four games off the pace in the division.  
 
The Biscuits snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak when Hak-Ju Lee hit a home run off of Suns starter Bryan Evans on the first pitch of the game.  It’s the only run of the series for Montgomery, with the Suns outscoring the Biscuits 10-1 in the first three games.  The Biscuits have been held to 14 hits, with only two for extra bases.
 
The Suns took the lead in the home half of the first off of Biscuits starter Jake Thompson.  Jake Smolinski led off with a double, and went to third on a single by Chris Gutierrez.  Paul Gran then drove in the first run of the night with a sacrifice fly, with Smolinski coasting home to tie the game 1-1.  After Kyle Skipworth reached on an error by first baseman Michael Sheridan, Curt Smith drove in Gutierrez with a RBI single to put the Suns in front to stay 2-1. 
 
In the second inning, Gutierrez walked with two outs and scored all the way from first on Paul Gran’s fourth triple of the season to straight-away center field to make the score 3-1.  Jacksonville has outscored opponents 118-78 in the first two innings this season.
 
The first four batters for the Suns reached base in the fifth with Jacksonville adding to the lead.  The big hit came off the bat of Kyle Skipworth, who homered to right-center field for the second straight night for his 16th round tripper of the season to make the score 4-1.  Skipworth has hit nine of the Suns last 18 homers.  Taylor Krick drove in a run with a groundout, and Donnie Webb plated a run with a sacrifice fly and the Suns were up 6-1.
 
Jacksonville tacked on one more in the eighth inning.  With runners on first and third, Gutierrez drove a run with a ground out to put the Suns up 7-1.  The Suns improved to 14-13 against the South Division in the second half with the win.
 
Eight of the nine Suns hitters in the game either drove in or scored at least one run.  Chris Gutierrez went 1-for-4 to extend his hit streak to six games and scored twice.  Jake Smolinski finished 2-for-4 for his 20th multi-hit game of the season.
 
The Suns have won eight of their last 11 games, and allowed three runs or fewer eight times.  Jacksonville pitchers have given up just two runs and 19 hits over the last four games.  On the 19 hits, only three have been for extra bases (one HR, two doubles).
 
Bryan Evans (4-6) allowed one run on three hits in 5.1 innings of work for the win.  He tied his season-high with eight strikeouts.  Evans is now 2-3 at the Baseball Grounds.  Jake Thompson (7-10) surrendered six runs on seven hits and lost his fourth straight game. 
 
The Suns can tie the Biscuits for first place with a win Monday night.  Jacksonville hasn’t won four games in a row since April, and the Biscuits haven’t lost four straight since April.
 
 The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds.  LHP Brian Flynn (1-0, 3.86) will start his third game for the Suns.  RHP Matt Buschmann (5-6, 4.00) gets the call for the Biscuits.
 
 
 

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Graham Taylor Shines In Shutout Over Biscuits

 

Graham Taylor earned his third shutout of the season, allowing seven singles over eight innings in the Suns 2-0 win over the Biscuits at the Baseball Grounds August 3, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

 By Steve Kolbe

The Jacksonville Suns returned home with the stage set for a show down with first place Montgomery, and Graham Taylor delivered a dominating performance leading the Suns to a 2-0 win over the Biscuits Friday night at the Baseball Grounds.  With the Suns claiming the first game of the five game series, the Biscuits lead in the South Division has been cut to three games.
 
The Suns scored all the runs that Taylor would need in the home half of the fourth inning against Biscuits starter Merrill Kelly.  With one out, Kyle Skipworth walked to start the rally and designated hitter Kyle Jensen singled to put runners on first and third.  Shawn Bowman drove in the first run of the game with a single to left center, with Skipworth racing home to put the Suns on top 1-0.  It was Bowman’s 45th RBI of the season, and his first since July 19th.  Ben Lasater then collected the Suns third straight single in the inning, with Jensen scoring for a 2-0 lead.  Lasater has driven in three runs in his last three games.  The Suns have scored the first run of the game in seven of the last eight, and are 42-18 when they cross the plate first.
 
By blanking the Biscuits for the first time in 2012, Jacksonville now has nine shutouts this season.  Montgomery was shutout for the first time since May 28th, a span of 57 games.  It’s just the third time this season that the Biscuits have been kept off the scoreboard, with the Mississippi Braves doing the honors the previous two times (April 13th 4-0 and May 28th 6-0).
 
The Suns have won four straight at the Baseball Grounds, outscoring their opponents 22-13.  Overall, the Suns improved to 13-7 in their last 20 games. 
 
Chris Gutierrez went 2-for-3, and now has at least one hit in five straight games and nine of his last 11.  Omar Luna led all hitters going 3-for-4 with three singles.  Mike Mahtook also collected two hits for the Biscuits to increase his hitting streak to eight games.  Montgomery shortstop Hak-Ju Lee singled to extend his on-base streak to 46 games dating back to June 11th.  Suns catcher Kyle Skipworth threw out both would-be base stealers on the night, including Hak-Ju Lee, who entered the game with 37 stolen bases and had been caught only eight times.
 
For the second straight night, the Suns starting pitcher went eight innings.  On Thursday, Jose Alvarez pitched a complete game in a 1-0 loss at Mobile.  On Friday, Graham Taylor (7-8) threw 101 pitches and scattered seven singles in the win.  In his last four starts, Taylor has allowed just three runs over 27 innings of work, and he has won his last three decisions.  Biscuits starter Merrill Kelly (6-2) allowed two runs on five hits in the loss.  He is 6-0 as a reliever, and 0-2 as a starter this season.
 
Closer A.J. Ramos entered the game to pitch the ninth, and surrendered a leadoff single to Omar Luna.  Ramos then struck out both Derek Dietrich and pinch hitter Kyeong Kang, and enticed Brett Nommensen to ground out to second to end the game.  Ramos is tied for second in the Southern League with 16 saves.
 
The Suns will look to make it two in a row over the Biscuits on Saturday with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM from the Baseball Grounds.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-6, 5.08) takes the mound for the Suns.  He has lost his last six decisions.  LHP Kyle Lobstein (6-6, 4.03) will start his 22nd game of the season for Montgomery.
 

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Suns Down Biscuits

 

Suns left fielder Jake Smolinski(above)went 3-for-4 with two RBI’s in 4-2 win over the Montgomery Biscuits. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns avoided a sweep with a 4-2 win over the Montgomery Biscuits on Friday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  The win snapped the Suns four-game home losing streak.
 
The Suns scored four unearned runs in the second inning against Biscuits starter Kyle Lobstein.  After Curt Smith and Kyle Jensen singled, second baseman Tyler Bortnick misplayed a ground ball by Jeff Dominguez with Smith scoring all the way from second base on the error to put the Suns ahead 1-0.  Jose Duarte followed with a double down into the right field corner, with Jensen scoring on the play to increase the lead to 2-0.  Duarte has two RBI’s in his last four games in the starting lineup.  Jake Smolinski added to the lead when he singled up the middle for two RBI’s to give the Suns a 4-0 advantage.
 
The Biscuits scored a run in the third when Ty Morrison grounded out with the bases loaded to make the score 4-1.  Montgomery added another run on a solo home run from catcher Mayo Acosta in the seventh inning.
 
Jake Smolinski went 3-for-4 with two RBI’s to lead the Suns at the plate.  Hak-Ju Lee was the only Biscuits player with more than one hit.  With his two singles, Lee has now reached base safely in 27 straight games.
The Suns had 19 hits in the three game series, 16 singles and three doubles. 
 
Jacksonville manager Andy Barkett was ejected in the first inning for after Biscuits center fielder Ty Morrison appeared to trap a ball hit by Chris Gutierrez, who was initially called safe at second base.  After a discussion between the three umpires, the call was reversed and they ruled Gutierrez out, with Barkett erupting.  After he was ejected, Barkett went to home plate and covered it with dirt.  It’s the fourth time this season that Barkett has been thrown out.
 
James Leverton (1-0) allowed one run on four hits in five and a-third innings for his first win with the Suns.  A.J. Ramos pitched the final two innings to earn his tenth save of the season.  Ramos has a save in each of the Suns last four victories.  Kyle Lobstein (4-5) allowed eight hits and no earned runs in the loss.
 
The Suns begin a four game set in Pensacola on Saturday night with the first pitch slated for 7:30 p.m.  It’s the final meeting of the season between the two teams, with the Suns needing one win to clinch the season series.  The Suns are 13-10 against the Blue Wahoos.

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Biscuits Shut Down Suns 2-1

 

Alex Colome allowed just three singles and struck out nine over six innings in the Biscuits 2-1 win over the Jacksonville Suns. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns were held to just four singles in a 2-1 loss to the Montgomery Biscuits on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds.  Montgomery has outscored the Suns 8-3 in the first two games of the series.   The Biscuits moved ahead of the Blue Wahoos into sole possession of first place in the South Division.
 
The starting pitchers, Matthew Neil for the Suns and Alex Colome for the Biscuits, combined to allow just four singles in the first four innings of the game.  Jacksonville failed to take advantage of some control issues by Colome.  He walked a season-high six batters in his six innings of work, but didn’t surrender a run.
 
Montgomery took the lead in the fifth inning against Neil.  Michael Sheridan hit a high fly ball to left field that fell in fair territory between the trio of Jose Duarte, Chris Gutierrez, and Curt Smith.  Sheridan ended up on second, and scored when Brett Nommensen singled up the middle to put the Biscuits up 1-0.  The Suns are 10-36 when allowing the first run of the game.
 
Biscuits shortstop Hak-Ju Lee helped generate a run in the sixth inning when he led off with a walk, stole second base, and went to third on Neil’s second wild pitch of the night.  With one out, Omar Luna hit a sacrifice fly to center, with Lee beating the throw to the plate to increase the lead to 2-0.
 
The Suns scored their only run of the game in the seventh inning against reliever Shane Dyer.  Jose Duarte walked, Jake Jefferies singled, and Donnie Webb walked to load the bases with no outs.  Chris Gutierrez then grounded into a double play, with Duarte scoring to make the score 2-1.
 
The Biscuits have won five straight games against the Suns, and improved to 9-3 overall in the season series.  Jacksonville is 9-13 in games this season with the designated hitter. 
 
The Suns fell to 14-18 in one-run games this season, and Jacksonville is now 3-32 when scoring fewer than three runs in a game.
 
Omar Luna was the only player to collect two hits in the game.  The Suns have 10 hits in the series against the Biscuits, but only one for exrtra bases.
 
Suns starter Matthew Neil (1-5) allowed two runs on five hits in five and two-thirds innings, and has lost his last five decisions.  Alex Colome (5-3) allowed just three singles over his six innings of work.  He stuck out nine, one shy of his season high.  Colome allowed six runs on eight hits in just three innings the last time he faced the Suns June 26 at Riverwalk Stadium.  Kirby Yates pitched two innings of hitless ball to earn his eighth save of the season.  The Biscuits are the only team in the Southern League to have two pitchers with eight saves of more (Adame Liberatore-8; Kirby Yates-8).
 
The Suns will look to salvage the final game of the series Friday night, with the first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds.  LHP James Leverton (0-0, 2.25) will start his third game of the season for the Suns.  LHP Kyle Lobsein (4-4, 4.47) takes the mound for the Biscuits.
 
 

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Biscuits Top Suns; Lee’s Hit Streak Reaches 21

 

Shortstop Hak-Ju Lee set the Montgomery franchise record by extending his hitting streak to 21 games. Lee doubled in the ninth inning in the Biscuits 6-2 win over the Jacksonville Suns to break the record that had stood since 2005. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

In the start of an important stretch with Jacksonville playing seven straight games against teams ahead of them in the South standings, the Suns fell to the Biscuits 6-2 on Wednesday at the Baseball Grounds.  The Biscuits kept pace with Penasacola for the divsion lead with the win (12-8).
 
Suns starter Graham Taylor was reinstated off the disabled list prior to the game against the Biscuits, and made his first appearance since allowing six runs on 10 hits in five innings in a loss at Montgomery.  Taylor pitched well, throwing 87 pitches and allowing just three singles over the first four innings. 
 
In the fifth, leadoff man Michael Sheridan didn’t waste any time giving the Biscuits a 1-0 lead, swinging at the first pitch from Taylor and clubbing his sixth home run of the season into the right field bleachers.  The Suns fell to 10-35 when allowing the first run of the game.
 
The Biscuits took command of the game in the sixth against Suns reliever Josh Schmidt.  Ty Morrison walked to lead off the inning, and Ryan Garko was grazed in the jersey by a pitch.  With one out, Tyler Bortnick singled to load the bases.  Already with a home run, Sheridan came through in the clutch when he doubled to right field with Morrison and Garko both scoring to increase the Biscuits lead to 3-0.  Sheridan was 1-for-7 with the bases loaded entering the game.  Schmidt retired Brett Nommensen on a grounder back to the pitcher, but with two outs Brad Coon singled to drive in a pair of runs to make the score 5-0.  The Biscuits batted around in the inning, scoring four times on three hits.
 
The Suns scored their only two runs of the night in the home half of the sixth against Montgomery starter Nick Barnese.  Donnie Webb led off with a single to center.  With one out, Jake Smolinski reached on shortstop Hak-Ju Lee’s eighteenth error of the season to put runners on first and second.  Curt Smith followed with a RBI-single to center, driving in Webb to put the Suns on the scoreboard.  Smith has 39 RBI’s this season.  After Ben Lasater singled to load the bases, Montgomery brought in reliever Joe Cruz.  Kyle Jensen dove in his 42nd run of the year with a grounder to first base, with Smolinski scoring on the play to cut the lead to 5-2, but that’s as close as the Suns would get.
 
In the ninth inning, Mark Thomas doubled to deep center and Hak-Ju Lee doubled into the right field corner with Thomas crossing the plate to add to the lead at 6-2.  Lee set the Montgomery team record with his 21st consecutive game with a hit, breaking the team record held by Rico Washington during the 2005 campaign.  In 13 of the 21 games during the streak Lee has had only one hit, and he has waited until his final at-bat four times to extend the streak.  Lee has hit safely against the Suns six times in the 21 games.
 
Suns starter Graham Taylor (4-8) allowed one run on five hits over five innings in the loss.  Nick Barnese (1-0) allowed five hits and two unearned runs to earn the win in just his fourth start.  He missed the first half of the season with after straining his shoulder during spring training.   Adam Liberatore allowed one hit over the final two innings to earn his eighth save of the season.  Three of his eight saves have come against the Suns. 
 
Kyle Jensen went 2-for-4 and his double was the Suns only extra base hit in the game.  Ty Morrison, Tyler Bortnick, and Michael Sheridan each had three hits for Montgomery.  Sheridan drove in three of Biscuits six runs.  Montgomery leads the Southern League in batting (.267).
 
The Biscuits improved to 8-3 against the Suns this season, and have scored at least six runs in six of the eight victories.  Montgomery has won four in a row in the season series going back to June 28th, scoring 29 runs along the way.  With the loss, Jacksonville fell to 2-7 against teams from the South Division in the second half.
 
The capital letters “SR” were inscribed in the dirt behind home plate in honor of Suns Owner Peter Bragan, Sr., who passed away at the age of 89 this past Saturday. 
 
Game two of the series is set for Thursday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:35 p.m. from the Baseball Grounds.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-4, 6.04) will make his tenth start of the season for the Suns.  He has lost his last four decisions.  RHP Alex Colome (4-3, 4.72) gets the call for the Biscuits.
 

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Biscuits Stay Hot With Win Over Suns

Ty Morrison finished a single shy of the cycle, drove in three runs and scored four others in the Biscuits 8-6 win over the Jacksonville Suns on June 29, 2012 at Riverwalk Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Jacksonville Suns scored three runs in the first inning, but the Montgomery Biscuits tied their season high with 14 hits on the way to an 8-6 win at Riverwalk Stadium on Friday night.  The Biscuits have reached double-digit hits in all four games of the series, and have out hit the Suns by a total 49-35.
 
The Suns started quickly when Biscuits starter Joe Cruz struggled with his control, allowing the first four batters to reach base in the opening inning.  Donnie Webb walked on four pitches, Chris Guierrez singled, and Jake Smolinski walked to load the bases before Cruz recorded an out.  Kyle Jensen drew a walk on four straight pitches, forcing in Webb to put the Suns up 1-0.  Jensen increased his team-leading RBI total to 38, with 10 of them coming with the bases loaded.  Kyle Skipworth knocked in Gutierrez from third with a ground out to the right side to make the score 2-0.  After Paul Gran popped out, Jake Jefferies hit a ground ball to first baseman Michael Sheridan that went under his glove and into right field, with Smolinski scoring on the error to build the Suns lead to 3-0.  The Suns have scored first in all four games of the series but have just one win.
 
Montgomery countered in the bottom of the first against Suns starter Graham Taylor.  Leadoff man Hak-Ju Lee singled to center on a two strike pitch and Ty Morrison doubled down the third base line, also on a two strike pitch, to put runners on second and third with no outs.  Ryan Garko drove in Lee from third with a sacrifice fly, and Tyler Bortnick plated Morrison with a single up the middle and the Suns lead was cut to 3-2.  Hak-Ju Lee has had a lead off hit in all four games in the series for the Biscuits.
 
Cruz entered the game with the second-most walks in the league, and struggled to find the plate again in the second when he walked Jeff Dominguez and Donnie Web.  Cruz then threw a wild pitch, and catcher Mark Thomas added to the trouble when his throw to third base went into left field, with Dominguez scoring to increase the Suns advantage to 4-2.  In the first two innings, Jacksonville scored four runs on just one hit, five walks, a wild pitch, and an error.
 
The Biscuits began their comeback in the third inning when Ty Morrison led off with a walk and Omar Luna doubled down the third base line, with Morrison motoring all the way around from first to cut the lead to 4-3. 
 
In the fourth inning, Montgomery took the lead for good by scoring three runs on four hits against Taylor, all with two outs.  Brett Nommensen singled and went to second on a ground out.  Hak-Ju Lee then drove in Nommensen with a single to right field to tie the game 4-4.  Ty Morrison continued his big night when he hit a two-run home run over the right field fence to give Montgomery a 6-4 edge.  It was Morrison’s second round tripper of the season, and the Biscuits third home run in the last three games.
 
With Suns reliever Alan Oaks on the mound in the sixth the Biscuits scored two important runs, again with two outs.  Lee singled and scored when Morrison tripled into the gap in left-center and it was 7-4 Biscuits.  Omar Luna came through with a two-out single, with Morrison coasting across the plate to make the score 8-4.  Montgomery has rallied to tie or take the lead after falling behind in all four games in this series.
 
With Biscuits closer Adam Liberatore on the hill in the ninth, Paul Gran singled and Curt Smith hit a two-run home run to make it 8-6, but that’s as close as the Suns would get.  Smith has hit three home runs in his last five games.  The Suns as a team have hit 14 round trippers in the last 13 games.
 
Montgomery has won five of the last six games, while the Suns have dropped seven of their last 11 contests.  Friday night’s not alright, with Jacksonville just 3-10 in games played on Friday.
 
Curt Smith finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and Jake Smolinski was 2-for-4.  The Suns finished with seven hits, six of them singles, and until the ninth didn’t have more than one hit in any of the first eight innings of the game.  The Suns tied their season high by walking 10 times, with Donnie Webb and Kyle Jensen each issued three free passes. 

The top three batters in the Biscuits lineup combined for nine of the 14 hits on the night.  Hak-Ju Lee, Ty Morrison, and Omar Luna each finished with three hits apiece.   Lee extended his hit streak to 10 games.  Morrison had a double, triple, and a home run to finish a single away from the cycle.  Morrison accounted for seven of the Biscuits eight runs, scoring four times and driving in three others.  Tyler Bortnick singled in the first inning to extend his hit streak to 15 games, one away from tying for the longest streak in the Southern League this season (Chris Gutierrez and Henry Rodriguez).  Every player except left fielder Kyeong Kang    (0-for-4) reached base at least once in the game for Montgomery. 

Graham Taylor (4-7) allowed six runs on 10 hits over five innings and has lost three of his last four decisions.  Montgomery had been tough on lefties, with a record of 17-7 against southpaws this season.  Taylor fell to 1-4 in eight road starts this season, with his lone win April 23 at Mobile.  Friday’s game was the fourth time this season that Taylor has surrendered six or more runs in an outing.  Biscuits starter Joe Cruz (6-6) allowed four runs on four hits and earned the win despite walking seven batters in five innings.  Cruz improved to 4-1 at home, and has won four straight decisions overall after winning just twice in his first 10 starts of the season.

The series finale is Saturday night from Riverwalk Stadium with the first pitch set for 8:05 p.m.  RHP Matthew Neil (1-2, 5.05) gets the nod for the Suns.  RHP Nick Barnese (0-0, 4.50) will make his second start of the season for the Biscuits. 

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Biscuits Take Over First Place In South

Biscuits first baseman Ryan Garko belted a three-run home run in the sixth inning to lead Montgomery to an 8-3 win over the Jacksonville Suns June 28, 2012 at Riverwalk Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

 By Steve Kolbe

The Montgomery Biscuits scored five times in the sixth inning on the way to an 8-3 win over the Suns on Thursday at Riverwalk Stadium.  The Biscuits improved to 5-3 in the second half, and took sole possession of first place in the South Division.
 
Before many found their seats, Jake Smolinski hit his second home run of the season, swinging at the first pitch of the game and sending it over the left field wall to put the Suns in front 1-0.  It’s the second time this season that Jacksonville has had their first batter of the game go deep.  Donnie Webb hit a home run against Tennessee while leading off on June 22nd at the Baseball Grounds. 
 
The Biscuits threatened in the third inning when they loaded the bases with only one out.  After falling behind in the count 3-0 to Tyler Bortnick, Suns starter Bryan Evans wiggled his way out of the jam when Bortnick grounded into an inning-ending double play. 
 
Montgomery started another rally in the fifth inning when Mark Thomas reached base with an infield single, and Ty Morrison doubled to put runners on second and third with one out.  Evans then let a pitch get away, hitting Ryan Garko in the batting helmet to load the bases.  Kyeong Kang walked on four pitches, pushing Thomas across the plate to tie the game 1-1.  Bortnick came to the plate with the bases full of Biscuits for the second time in three innings, and came up empty again when he grounded into another inning ending double play.
 
Kyle Jensen gave the Suns a 2-1 lead in the sixth, hammering the first pitch of the inning to deep left-center field for his tenth home run of the season.  Jensen has hit a home run in two straight games, and is the first Suns player to reach double digits.
 
Jacksonville summoned reliever Chris Squires to begin the sixth inning.  He walked the first batter that he faced in his return to the Suns when he gave Tyler Bortnick a free pass.  After Bortnick advanced to second base on a wild pitch, Squires settled down and retired the next two batters he faced.  With two outs, Mark Thomas hit a hard grounder to third and Shawn Bowman’s throw to first sailed over the head of Curt Smith, with Sexton scoring to even the score 2-2.
 
After Hak-Ju Lee was issued an intentional walk, Ty Morrison drove in Thomas with a single to right field to put the Biscuits ahead to stay at 3-2.  Squires then fell behind in the count 3-1 to Ryan Garko and when he tried to challenge him with the fastball, Garko smashed his fifth home run of the season to left-center.  The three-run blast increased the Biscuits lead to 6-2.  Garko has reached base safely in 11 straight games.  Montgomery sent eight men to the plate and scored five runs on three hits in the inning.
 
The Biscuits added to their lead in the seventh inning against Zach Neal, when Greg Sexton hit a two-run home run to make the score 8-3.  Montgomery has scored 54 runs in the first eight games of the second half (over seven runs per game).  The Biscuits improved to 26-3 when they score six or more runs, the Suns have only three victories when they score three or fewer.
 
Jake Smolinski and Jeff Dominguez each had multi-hit games for the Suns.  For Montgomery, Tyler Bortnick extended his team-high hit streak to 14 games with his infield single in the second inning.  Mark Thomas finished 3-for-4 with three singles and scored two runs.  Hak-Ju Lee and Ty Morrison each collected two hits.  Lee extended his hit streak to nine games.
 
The Biscuits leadoff hitters made things difficult for Suns pitchers throughout the night, reaching base in seven of the eight innings (triple, double, two singles, three walks).  The Suns have scored the first run in all three games of the series but have lost twice.
 
Suns starter Bryan Evans (2-5) didn’t figure in the decision after allowing just one run on five hits over five innings.  Chris Squires (0-1) suffered the loss after giving up five runs on three hits in the sixth inning.  Biscuits starter Jake Thompson (5-5) allowed three runs on seven hits and earned the win.  Thompson went 0-4 in his first seven starts of the season, but is 5-1 in his last seven starts.  Neil Schenk allowed just one hit over the final two and two-thirds innings for his first save of the season.
 
Game four of the series is Friday night from Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EST.  The Suns will send LHP Graham Taylor (4-6, 4.54) to the mound for his sixteenth start of the season.  The Biscuits will look to win the series with RHP Joe Cruz (5-6, 4.96) on the hill for his fifteenth start of the year.

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Suns Fall To Biscuits In Slugfest

 

Biscuits shortstop Hak-Ju Lee(above)finished 2-for-5, drove in a run, and also scored in Montgomery’s 7-6 win over the Suns at Riverwalk Stadium June 26, 2012. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

The Suns first road game of the second half ended up being a slugfest, with Jacksonville coming up short in a 7-6 loss at Riverwalk Stadium on Tuesday night.  The Suns fell to 2-4 this season in Montgomery.

 The Suns jumped out to an early lead in the first inning against Biscuits starter Alex Colome. Donnie Webb led off with a double to right-center, and he scored when Chris Gutierrez doubled to put Jacksonville up 1-0.  The Suns have scored at least one run in the first inning in 22 games this season. 

The Biscuits wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in the home half of the first.  Leadoff man Hak-Ju Lee singled and stole second base.  The Biscuits next stolen base will be their 100th of the season.  Ty Morrison then singled with Lee scoring to tie the game 1-1.  Suns starter Omar Poveda would face only one more batter.  Omar Luna hammered a line drive back up the middle that hit Poveda in the lower left leg, forcing the Suns pitcher to leave the game.   With Suns lefty James Leverton taking over, Kyeong Kang singled to center with two runs scoring to give the Biscuits a 3-1 advantage. 

Jacksonville roughed up Colome in the second inning, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring five runs on four hits to take a 6-3 lead.  Colome committed two balks in the inning, one of which allowed a run to score.  Chris Gutierrez and Paul Gran each drove in a run with a single in the inning, and Kyle Skipworth plated a run with a sacrifice fly. 

Montgomery started chipping away at the Suns lead in the third.  Omar Luna, Ryan Garko, and Tyler Bortnick all singled to load the bases.  Leverton then committed a balk, with Luna scoring to cut the Suns lead to 6-4.  There were three balks called in the first three innings of the game. 

The Suns had a chance to break the game open in the fifth inning when Jake Jefferies doubled, Jeff Dominguez singled, and Aaron Dudley walked to load the bases with no outs.  But the Suns came up empty when Biscuits reliever Alex Koronis retired the next three batters he faced in what would be the turning point of the game. 

In the home half of the sixth inning, the Biscuits rallied against Suns left hander Bobby Bramhall.  With one out and two on, Mark Thomas came through when he doubled off the wall in left field, with Michael Sheridan scoring to bring the Biscuits within one at 6-5.  Hak-Ju Lee then singled with Brett Nommensen rumbling home to even the score at 6-6. 

In the seventh, the Biscuits completed the comeback against Suns reliever Jordan Conley.  Kyeong Kang led off the inning with a double down the left field line.  After Tyler Bornick was hit by a pitch, and Michael Sheridan dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third, the Suns elected to walk Brett Nommensen to load the bases.  Mark Thomas then drove in the go-ahead run with a ground ball to short, with the Suns unable to turn an inning-ending double play, and Kang touched the plate to put the Biscuits in front 7-6. 

The two teams combined for 13 runs on 28 hits.  Jake Jefferies finished 3-for-5 with a double and scored a run.  Jeff Dominguez and Aaron Dudley each had two hits, and Chris Gutierrez drove in two of the Suns six runs.  The Suns collected five doubles in the game, two shy of their season high.  

Montgomery finished with a season-high 14 hits in the game.  Ryan Garko and Kyeon Kang led the Biscuits with three hits each.  Kang has now reached base safely in 12 straight games.  

Jordan Conley (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing one run on three hits in two and two-thirds innings of work. Neil Schenk (3-0) pitched the seventh inning for the win.  Adam Liberatore tossed the final two innings to earn his seventh save of the season.  The Suns threatened in the ninth with Jeff Dominguez and Curt Smith hitting singles to put runners on the corners with two outs.  Liberatore buckled down and struck out Donnie Webb to end the game.

 
Game two of the series is Wednesday with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EST.  LHP Jose Alvarez (2-4, 4.15) will start his 14th game of the season.  After allowing just two singles in eight innings in a 2-0 win over Tennessee, Alvarez was named the Southern League’s Pitcher of the Week.  The Biscuits will send LHP Kyle Lobstein (3-3, 4.7) to the mound for his 15th start of the season.

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Biscuits Walk-Off With 3-2 Win

Biscuits starter Shane Dyer allowed just one hit over seven innings against the Suns at Riverwalk Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Montgomery Biscuits

By Steve Kolbe

 
The Montgomery Biscuits edged the Jacksonville Suns 3-2 in walk-off fashion at Riverwalk Stadium on Monday night.
 
The Suns took a 1-0 lead in the second inning off of Biscuits starting pitcher Shane Dyer when Kyle Jensen hit a solo home run over the left field wall.  Jensen is tied for the team lead with five home runs this season, and he has hit the Suns last three round-trippers.  That pitch to Jensen was the only mistake that Dyer would make in the game.  He pitched seven innings allowing just that one hit.
 
Montgomery took the lead in the bottom half of the fourth against Suns left-hander Graham Taylor when Omar Luna led off the inning with a bunt single, and Kyeong Kang followed with a double to put runners on second and third with no outs.  An error cost the Suns three runs in their 7-1 loss on Sunday night, and once again a miscue opened the door for Montgomery.  Michael Sheridan hit a line drive to second, but the ball went under Paul Gran’s glove for an error with both Luna and Kang scoring on the play to put the Biscuits in front 2-1.
 
After cruising through seven innings with a one-hitter, Shane Dyer turned the game over to Biscuits closer Adam Liberatore.  In the ninth inning pinch-hitter Ryan Patterson and Jake Smolinski both singled to left, and for the second time in the series Liberatore was on the ropes in the ninth.  This time he didn’t escape, with Kyle Skipworth hitting a ground ball to first baseman Michael Sheridan, who threw the ball into left field trying to start a double play.  On the error, Patterson scored all the way from second base and the game was tied 2-2.
 
In the home half of the ninth, Sheridan put the error he committed behind him by leading off the inning with a single off of Suns reliever Kyle Kaminska.  A sacrifice bunt by Greg Sexton then moved Sheridan to second base.  After an intentional walk to Brad Coon and a walk on for pitches by Mark Thomas the bases were loaded for one of the top prospects in the Rays system and all of minor league baseball.  And Hak-Ju Lee didn’t disappoint the home crowd, swinging at the first pitch he saw from Kaminska in the ninth and driving it into center field for the walk-off single to give the Biscuits a 3-2 win.  The winning run was scored by Sheridan, who had committed the error that allowed the Suns to tie the game in the top of the inning.
 
Both starters pitched seven innings and didn’t figure in the decision.  Graham Taylor allowed seven hits and two runs(one earned)while walking only one batter.  Shane Dyer allowed just one hit, struck out a season-high five batters and walked one.  Dyer entered the game with a 2.18 ERA, fifth-best in the Southern League.  Montgomery improve to 15-0 when leading a game heading into the ninth inning.
 
Adam Liberatore pitched the final two innings earning the win to improve to 3-2.  He also has a save in the series.  Kyle Kaminska lost a game for the first time since April 11th.  He pitched the eighth and ninth for the Suns, allowing three hits and the game winning run.  
   
Hak-Ju Lee finished 3-for-5 with three singles and now leads the league with 158 plate appearances.  Lee had just two hits in his last 15 at-bats entering the game.  Omar Luna and Michael Sheridan each collected two of the Biscuits 10 hits in the game.  
 
The Suns have dropped eight of their last nine games, and in the last two games against the Biscuits have just seven hits.  Jacksonville lost for just the second time this season when scoring first (15-2).
 
The Suns will send RHP Omar Poveda (3-1, 6.08) to the mound for the series finale on Tuesday morning.  The Biscuits turn to LHP Kyle Lobstein (2-2, 6.32) with the first pitch scheduled for 11:35PM ET from Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Alabama.

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